Atella, an ancient Oscan town of Campania, midway between Naples and Capua, the inhabitants of which were executed, sold as slaves, or expelled by the Romans in 211 B. C , for having been the first to declare for the Carthaginians after the battle of Cannas. In the days of Cicero the town had recovered its prosperity, though it was classed by Strabo among the smaller towns of Campania. In early Christian times it became an episcopal see, and continued as such till the 9th century, but was then much dilapidated. In 1030 the inhabitants were removed to the neighboring town of Aversa, near which some remains still exist. Atella is celebrated in Roman literature through the Atellance fabulce, also called ludi Osci, farces or comedies in the Oscan dialect. They were at one time highly popular in Rome. No entire play has come down to us.
Ath, Or Aeth, a city of Belgium, in the province of Hainault, on the river Dender, 30 m. W. S. W. of Brussels; pop. in 1866, 8,260. It has a tower built in 1150, a handsome town hall, a college, orphan asylum, etc. It has manufactures of linen, woollen, and cotton fabrics, of hats and gloves, bleaching and dyeing establishments, and breweries; and it is the seat of a considerable trade. It once had fortifications, but they were demolished in 1830.
Athaliah, queen of Judah, daughter of Ahab, king of Israel. She was sought by Je-hoshaphat, king of Judah, in marriage for his son Jehoram. This marriage was the occasion of the introduction of idolatry into Judah, ai.d of an interruption in the Judean dynasty. After the death of Jehoram, and the short reign and destruction of her son Ahaziah (884 B. C), Athaliah caused all the male members of the royal line, as she supposed, to be slain, and mounted the throne of Judah herself. But after she had reigned six years, the high priest Jehoiada produced her grandson, the young Joash, who had been saved from the massacre and reared in the temple, caused him to be anointed as king, and ordered the punishment of Athaliah by the armed Levites.
Athamas, in Greek legendary history, a son of AEolus, married Nephele, who, discovering that he preferred Ino, the daughter of Cadmus, vanished from the earth. Ino endeavored to destroy Phrixus and Helle, his children by Ne-phele, but they were rescued by their mother and transported to Colchis on the back of the ram with the golden fleece. Juno, to punish the infidelity of Athamas, afflicted him with madness. While in this condition he killed Lear-chus, one of his sons by Ino, and the latter cast herself into the sea with her other son, Melicertes. Athamas now fled from Bceotia, and was commanded by an oracle to remain wherever he should be hospitably received by savage beasts. After much wandering he arrived at a place where wolves were devouring sheep; they tied at his approach, and left their prey at his disposal. Athamas settled there, and called his new territory Athamania.